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Withers KhattarWong strengthens cross-border M&A practice and launches its Japan Desk with Japanese partner Yutaka Sakashita

9 January 2023 | Applicable law: Japan | 2 minute read

Withers KhattarWong, the Singapore office of international law firm Withers, has hired a new corporate partner Yutaka Sakashita to strengthen its cross-border mergers and acquisitions (“M&A”) capabilities. Yutaka will launch Withers' Japan Desk in Singapore and complete its end-to-end service offerings to support Japanese firms in their inbound and outbound cross-border transactions and various corporate legal issues in the APAC region.

Yutaka built his 15-year legal career with Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu (“NO&T”) in Tokyo and Singapore, where he represented Japanese companies on their cross-border corporate transactions. At NO&T, he also advised private equity and venture capital firms based in Japan on their investments in APAC. He was named in the 2023 Edition of The Best Lawyers in Japan (International Business Transactions).

One of the few Japanese lawyers in Singapore who can advise on Japanese, Singapore and US laws, Yutaka will increase the depth and breadth of Withers’ global corporate capabilities, creating cross-border opportunities across offices in APAC, US and Europe.

The strong demand in the region from Japanese clients drives Withers' strategic move to launch its Japan Desk in Singapore. Over 40% of outbound annual investment from Japan is focused on Southeast Asia. Singapore is the regional hub for investment work and is home to the largest number of Japanese subsidiaries outside Japan.

Most recently, Withers hired Tokyo-based corporate M&A partner Kazumitsu (Kaz) Goto last October and Hong Kong-based funds partner Simon Wong last November. Kaz, Simon and Yutaka will focus on building momentum for the firm’s international and cross-border M&A and funds practices.

Jeremy Wakeham, CEO of the Business Division, Withers, comments: “Yutaka is well-recognised among the vast but tightly-knit Japanese business community in Singapore for his track record in cross-border M&A work. His network and expertise will be similarly valuable to our Tokyo office, which has established a stronghold in real estate and funds, and growing capabilities in corporate M&A, which will enable us to expand the team's practice further across the APAC region. We are confident that our Japan Desk in Singapore, led by Yutaka and supported by our colleagues in Tokyo, will be a compelling team to service Japanese clients with inbound and outbound cross-border transactional needs.” 

Yutaka adds: “I look forward to continue serving Japanese businesses that want to invest in the APAC region. Withers provides a unique and strong proposition for Japanese clients, with its full-service offering in Singapore, leading corporate capabilities in Tokyo and a strong international network across Asia, Europe and the US.”

Now with over 80 dedicated corporate lawyers across major financial hubs in Asia, our teams in Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan have the depth and diversity of expertise to advise our clients internationally on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic alliances, capital markets, corporate structuring and planning, private equity, corporate finance, financial services regulatory, real estate and international corporate tax.

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.

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